Lanice Avery, PhD (Assistant Professor of Psychology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Director, Research on Intersectionality, Sexuality, and Empowerment (RISE) Lab, University of Virginia), shares research into usage of specific social media platforms and their associations with health impacts to Black women at #AskTheExperts webinar “Mirror, Mirror, in My Palm: Girls and Media” on September 7, 2022

[Dr. Lanice Avery]: So from this graph you can see that young Black women in my sample reported using Facebook and Instagram most frequently. That’s not a surprise. But I wanted to test the associations between this usage on their health. And as you can see from this table, I explored social media’s impact on several dimensions of health, including depression, anxiety and self-esteem. And I want to draw your attention here to this highlighted area, because that’s where the good stuff is. It’s here you’ll see that Instagram was linked with lower sensitivity. And Tumblr was linked with a whole host of adverse outcomes; depression, hostility, sensitivity, and lower self-esteem. Despite being the platform used least frequently, it ended up being the driver of some of the most adverse conditions. So contrary to previous research, the most frequently used platform, Facebook, wasn’t significantly associated with any adverse mental health issues, indicating the importance of us considering these relationships among diverse populations.

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Ask the Experts—Webinar

Mirror, Mirror, in My Palm: Girls and Media

How does online media affect girls' mental and physical health as they navigate through the increasingly tricky waters of social media and digital interactions?

Body Image
Sexual Content
Social Media